It’s happening. Donald Trump is going to win big in Indiana, allowing him to do the same in the next nine states. He has gone from a laughing stock to one election from the Oval Office. From reality TV to avatar of the angry masses. From Birtherism conspiracy to the presumptive nominee of the Republican Party. Tonight, in one of the more amazingly self-fulfilled prophecies in
recent political history, Donald Trump will be crowned a winner.
That means he’s just one strong campaign away from becoming the 45th President of the United States. Has that sunk in? Has that really sunk in?
I could spend a thousand words breaking down Indiana. I could look at polls, trends, endorsements, and each of the nine districts, making wordy predictions that would bore most readers. (For the record: Donald Trump wins all but the fifth district and takes all but three delegates. He’ll win the state by a lot. Hillary Clinton will win by less.)
But Indiana isn’t the point. It’s merely the latest manifestation of the political revolution that Bernie Sanders couldn’t quite see through and Donald Trump is ramming home.
Do not, do not, DO NOT dismiss his candidacy in the general. The probability of him winning this election feels roughly a thousand times more likely than his chances of winning the nomination when he glided down an escalator to the rebellious sounds of Neil Young. (Oh, how we laughed!)
Ever since that moment, however, his ascension has been unstoppable, and tonight he reaches the top of the Republican Party. Remember, he started with high unfavorables with Republicans only to win the party’s nomination. It can happen again with the general electorate, especially considering he has the most moderate (liberal?) ideology of any Republican nominee since Nixon, including on trade, social security, Medicare, affirmative action, LBGT rights, the lesser known PPFA, and perhaps most heretical, Israel. If the center is won by appealing to independents who make decisions independently, then beware the potency of a candidate who does the same.
Ultimately, he has the media wrapped around his finger (or is it the other way around?), a steadily acquiescent Republican Party, the promise of heretofore disinterested voters, and, most important, the perfect opponent for an authenticity campaign. Indeed, Bernie Sanders has softened the ground for Trump. Nearly half the Democratic Party now joins the Republicans in defining Hillary Clinton as speaking and acting on behalf of institutions, not people. Trump’s entire campaign is based on the reverse. If you don’t think that’s dangerous in 2016, you’re not paying attention.
You’re darn right this read as a general election post. It has begun.